The Alpine odyssey

Travel tales

The Alpine odyssey

It had been a dream of mine to travel across Europe especially to France, Switzerland and Italy. But it wasn’t until recently that I got to live this dream.

My wife and I took the spontaneous decision to book our tickets and head off as soon as possible. While this got me bubbling with excitement, it didn’t take my wife long to have second thoughts. She had misgivings about travelling alone. Our neighbours came to our rescue and  the couple were eager to join us after two months.

We travelled from Bengaluru to Mumbai and from there to Paris via Kuwait. By the time we reached Paris, Kuwait became a distant memory. As the coach left the airport, I was amazed at the beauty of the city. The trees were laid systematically and symmetrically.

What took me by surprise here was that all the commercial establishments shut shop by 7.30 pm, so we rushed to an Indian hotel for dinner. As the next day dawned, we prepared ourselves for a city tour. L’Arch de Triomphe Arch, which sits atop Champs-Élysées, and the Eiffel Tower delighted us no end. The Tower is a fine example of excellent engineering and architectural skills. Made from wrought iron to withstand the onslaught of sun and rain, it is a marvel! It has a panoramic view and is a sight to behold."

Next morning, we began our journey to  Switzerland by coach. The Rhine Falls was a sight to behold. It had boating facilities as well. We relished coffee at the opposite end of the Falls and left for Engelberg, a small town situated near Mt Titlis. In the evening, we visited Lausanne, a city on Lake Geneva. We wanted to see the rock-cut lion monument  with a dagger on its back which signified the reliablity of Swiss army in the face of odds.

We proceeded to Mt Titlis, which stands at a height of 3,020 metres, the next morning, and reached the peak through rotating cable cars. The mountain was covered with snow. While passing through the ice caves, we  managed to taste the ice creams as well. There was a bit of India even atop the mountain. Posters of ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ were seen plastered there! Pisa, a city in Tuscany, was our destination the next morning.  

The Square of Miracles and Leaning Tower of Pisa were the cynosure of all eyes there. A closer look at the Tower of Pisa revealed small structural supports that were made for safety. We continued our journey to Florence and saw an impressive bronze cast of David on Michelangelo Square.  Once in Rome, we saw the Tiber River and Trevi Fountain, which displayed architectural supremacy. A visit to the Colosseum was also on the itinerary.

A road in Rome forms the boundary between Italy and Vatican City. We visited St Peter’s Basilica, where the artistic masterpieces of Michelangelo and Bernini left every visitor awestruck.

Throughout the tour, we didn’t have any problem getting Indian food. Lunch and dinner were at Indian hotels and included ‘roti’, curry of two kinds, white rice, curd, ‘payasam’ and one non-vegetarian dish. In Rome, we also had the opportunity of tasting onion ‘pakodas’ and ‘upma’ for breakfast.

Needless to say our trip fullfilled my dream and presented memories that will last a lifetime.
 

(The author can be reached at nrrao.51@gamil.com)

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